Integration of pediatric mental health in general pediatrics in eritrea: improving access and collaboration
Background: Recognition of mental health problems among children continues to be a diagnostic challenge especially in resource poor countries where integration of such services within the primary health care framework has not been fully successfully. Objective: To document the prevailing mental services among children in Eritrea Methods: prospective descriptive study on policies, practices and interventions targeted at improvement of mental health services among children in Eritrea. Results: The Pediatric Residency Programme established at Orotta School Postgraduate School of Medicine developed a curriculum which was sensitive to recognition and management of mental disorders among children. Of a total of 42 children with mental health disorders, one third had anxiety disorders, 30% had pervasive developmental disorders one quarter psychosomatic disorders and 10% had behaviour disorders predominantly attention deficit disorder. Two illustrative cases have been presented to highlight the challenges and the requisite solutions. Conclusion: The establishment of the Pediatric residency with a dedicated curriculum to address mental health services has contributed to the awareness and integration of such services with primary health care in Eritrea.